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The Detroit Tigers have officially decided to become sellers. Like, really officially:

While the decision had been tentatively expected for a little while, there were rumors as recently as yesterday that the Tigers were telling other teams they wanted to buy. Had that played out, the market impact – particularly in the pitching market – would have been significant. Not only might they have gobbled up a rental arm, they also would have taken the best rental arm off of the market.

That arm belongs to David Price, who is now very available. There were rumors last week that the Cubs would be involved, but there hasn’t been anything new on that front since, and I would still be extremely surprised to see the Cubs giving up elite talent for a rental, even a great one like Price. It simply doesn’t make as much sense for a team gunning for a Wild Card as it does for a divisional contender. Thus, many other teams should want to pay more for Price than the Cubs.

Which teams? Well, we know the Dodgers like him (and if the Mat Latos deal really has hit trouble, maybe they like him even more). The Astros seem to like everyone. So do the Blue Jays. The Yankees have been a late entrant into the Price market. Jayson Stark lists all of those teams … and the Cubs. We’ll monitor things, but a move for Price is not something I’m expecting. Still, where he does wind up is of huge importance to the Cubs.

And it does seem like Price will go:

Nightengale, for what it’s worth, stacks up the Price contenders thusly:

And he says the Dodgers really want to get Price so they can try and sign him long-term:

If Price goes to the Dodgers and Hamels does, indeed, go to the Phillies, that could leave the Cubs in a solid position with respect to other rentals (Leake, Samardzija, Kennedy, etc.), as well as the Padres’ starters.

What about other Tigers players? Well, there’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who cannot be given a qualifying offer (by contract) after the season, so the Tigers have all the incentive in the world to trade him.

I’m not sure how much I buy this, though:

Cespedes is great, but all the “pricey rental” caveats apply. Probably even more so, because the fit in adding a starting outfielder (who displaces … Jorge Soler? Chris Coghlan?) is of less value to the Cubs than adding a starting pitcher who slots right into the rotation.

Reliever Joakim Soria is having a really down season, but he could be of plausible interest to the Cubs.

UPDATE: A couple possible Price landing spots that wouldn’t please Cubs fans:

From where I sit, I’d be much, much happier to see Price go to the Cardinals (especially for an elite prospect+) than the Giants, with whom the Cubs are more realistically competing for a playoff spot this year.

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